Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the team has already decided who will partner Lewis Hamilton for the 2022 season, but it is not yet time to release the information.
Mercedes renewed with Hamilton for two more seasons earlier this year, but the identity of his teammate has been a long debate.
Wolff had previously stated that the only two candidates under consideration were the current driver of the team, Valtteri Bottas and George Russell, who currently races for Williams.
When, on two separate occasions, Wolff was asked whether a decision had already been made, he replied in the affirmative.
He stated that the result of qualifying in Belgium, with Russell taking a great front row position with Williams, makes no difference to the 2022 decision.
“We already know what we have with George, who has excelled in the junior categories, who has excelled in a Williams car, and excelled in Bahrain in 2020,” said Wolff.
“If I needed definitive proof, then something would be wrong, but I don’t need it, and the decision made takes into account other factors. If it had been an easy decision, we would have made it sooner as we know what we have with Valtteri and we know what we have with George, and both deserve to be taken care of as best as possible because they are both part of the family and we keep them high.” , he said.
Wolff praised Russell for his performance during the qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps.
“I looked at the pilots’ cameras and I think that from the beginning he was the only one who saved time at La Source, because he is the only one who does it at the apex. Williams’ approach to qualifying was very smart. Risky but smart.”
“He was very committed to Eau Rouge and the car also looks really good the rest of the lap, but it takes a driver to maximize that, explore the full potential of the package, or surpass the package’s performance, and it all came together today. . You saw a brilliant lap of a brilliant young driver”, concluded.